Old co-exists with new at Melk Abbey

December 19, 2014
abbey entrance gd

Entrance to Melk Abbey.

Melk is a tiny lower Austrian town of about 5,000 people noted for one thing: its massive, baroque Benedictine abbey.

abbey nicer It’s huge, but houses only 33 monks, a church and a school.

abbey stairs gdPretty colors. Wide staircases. long corridorLong corridors perfect for long, swishing robes.  These ceiling frescoes were beautiful.

Stunning ceiling frescoes.  Yep, it’s an abbey.

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photographs in its breathtaking ancient library, where the books go back so many hundreds of years it’s astonishing.  This 11th century parchment book was on display elsewhere in the abbey.

old bookBut we COULD take photos in its church, which was so over-the-top gold that I’m certain artisans used up a 25-year supply. Words wouldn’t suffice. So, here:

church far gd

See what I mean? The churches we saw in this part of Europe were …excessive….if anything can be excessively done for the glory of God.  When I look at the craftsmanship and think about the era in which these churches were built and how hard it must have been to get supplies, not to mention construct edifices this complicated? It’s astonishing.




The Benedictine mantra is HORE or listen. Listen to the people around you, listen to your heart, just listen.

A-Mit Gott

With God.

I loved it and I loved the words projected on the walls, which were a modern touch in an ancient abbey.

A-GottGod is a concept that has stood the test of time.

A-Fur Gott

For God.


It’s always moving to be in a place where God is clearly at the center of life, and I felt that here.

monk walking filmThis was an amazing film and sculpture installation.

figures3Here at the abbey, old and new coexist in a special way.

religious panels

This is an 800-year-old cross.

cross 800 yr old

This crucifix is 800 years old.


No abbey is complete without some plump cherubs, and these were especially sweet.

cherub group gd

It’s a beautiful site.

pretty abbey morn mistAnd so we left Melk, cruising down the Danube again.

church wachau

This is the Wachau Valley.




13 comments on “Old co-exists with new at Melk Abbey
  1. Patricia says:

    How interesting Carol. These photos took me to Austria, a country I have never visited.

  2. Carolann says:

    I continue to love these pics! And the signs with Mit Gott were ever so lovely. The more of Austria I see, the more I would love to go there someday. What a trip!

  3. I love when you share your travels with us Carol!
    Great photos.

  4. Stunning! I wonder who oversees the modern art installations? Do the Benedictines? Sounds like a fabulous trip.

  5. Those are some amazing pictures. Love the art installation and am still laughing over your “God is a concept that has stood the test of time.” Ha!

  6. I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself, Carol, and took some great photos.

  7. Kelly says:

    What a beautiful post, Carol. Austria is on our list. I will have to bookmark this for future reference. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  8. Just gorgeous. And I love the way the new was added but the old was lovingly preserved.

  9. I think that I am enjoying your vacation as much as you have! I loved this!

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